So what was my mystery WIP shot? It’s a blouse I made using the gingham I bought in Paris for seven euros. To be exact, it’s the V8495 blouse which happens to be the very first item I ever made when I decided to start sewing about three years ago.
The first thing I ever made.
My 2012 revisit.
It was soooo interesting revisiting this pattern and there were some surprises along the way.
Surprise Number One – I Had No Idea About Sizing Back Then.
I am staggered that my first ever make turned out to be a success. Seriously, I have no idea what I was thinking when I cut out the pieces as I was way off my actual measurements. I can’t believe that I was taking into account generous ease. (I wouldn’t have even known what ease was.) The pattern size I chose has a discrepancy of five inches on my waist measurement and my chest measurement is about two inches too small. What was my logic? What could I possibly have been thinking? Had I waved a tape measure in a vague way around my body and then ordered a pattern at random? No idea. And yet my first make fitted and still fits. Unlike the gingham make, which is too small. How come?
Surprise number two – Seam Allowances Didn’t Mean Anything Back Then.
When I first started sewing, I ignored a lot of the obvious. I thought notches were for losers and stoically refused to engage with them for about the first 18 months of my sewing career. On returning to this first make, I also remembered (too late) that I didn’t give a jot for seam allowances. I lined the edge of the fabric up with the edge of the sewing machine foot. Which is why my original make actually fitted. Can you believe the serendipity? Ignorance + stubborn streak = successful make. I deserved to fail, and yet I didn’t. Sadly, on my second make I respected the 15mm seam allowance rule (because that’s what you’re meant to do) and consequently made a top that is too small for me. Fortunately, my sister has a much smaller frame and she is now the proud owner of a gingham blouse.
Surprise Number Three – On My First Make I Just Went Ahead And Drafted My Own Sleeves. And Successfully Inserted Them.
Would you like me to repeat that? I wasn’t happy with the pattern’s shorter sleeve options (they stuck out like airplane wings) so I ripped them out, recut them and inserted new sleeves as seemed best. Seemed best turned out to be pretty damn good. Unbelievable. My first ever sewing project and I was doing all that? Ignorance and lack of fear can go a long way, it turns out.
Surprise Number Four – I Was Working With A Poor Pattern.
My experienced eye can now see that there’s a reason the original pattern sleeves weren’t working very well. This pattern wasn’t, in my opinion, ever drafted to have sleeves. See how the sleeveless version’s bodice extends to almost create cap sleeves? I feel sure that someone at Vogue just added some last-minute sleeve options to give the illusion of variety, leading poor Sewists into guaranteed failure. I wouldn’t have known that. I’d have thought badly-performing sleeves were my own fault. But I clearly didn’t give much of a stuff – I just set about making adjustments. Again, the incredible buoyancy of the novice!
I really, really recommend returning to the first ever pattern you ever worked with. It will bring back lots of memories, several surprises and a lovely reminder not only of how far you’ve come, but how brave you were to begin with. The only shame is that my new top is too small. But hey, them’s the knocks.
Would you be tempted to revisit your first make? Is it a pattern you’d even look at now?